Today, the Obama administration announced the issue of an executive order that says illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children will no longer be deported
. It has plenty of caveats -- they must have no criminal record, for example, and earn a high school diploma, among other things.
Congressman Allen West was on Fox News
in a matter of minutes to condemn the move, as many Republicans have, for overreaching with his executive authority on a matter they say should have proceeded legislatively.
It was a reasonable discussion -- but this is the Colonel we're talking about here, so it didn't stay reasonable for long.
"It reminds me of a very important maxim that says surprises are for birthdays," he said, objecting to the "administrative overreach" in having "an unelected bureaucrat in Janet Napolitano coming out about a policy decision which will affect residency here in the United States of America. That's why we have oversight committees. And this should have been brought up as legislation."
OK, fair point. It should be noted that the current bill doesn't grant any kind of citizenship or residency; some illegal immigrants who were brought here as children will simply be allowed to apply for two-year "deferred action" decisions, during which time they can apply for work permits. They don't get to become Americans -- if they wanted to become citizens, they should have thought about that before they let their parents drag them here as toddlers.
But this is getting boring, Congressman West. Give us something to be scared about.
"I think there's devils in the details," he said. "I can start to ask questions about what's going to happen as far as their rights to vote. I mean is this one of these backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote? Will we see the Janet Napolitano and the president come out with a new edict that says since we allowed these people to be here legally, we're now going to allow them to have the opportunity to vote? So how far down the rabbit hole does this go?"
You read that correctly -- we can't allow the children of illegal immigrants to get jobs because Obama might sneak up on us and let them vote for him.
"Why have we not allowed a national debate on this issue" West said. "The American people obviously are not allowed to have any type of input through their representatives that they sent to Washington, D.C."
West wasn't in Congress at the time, so maybe he wasn't paying attention. But this was
brought up in a national debate: The DREAM Act passed the House in 2010 and would have passed the Senate if not for a Republican filibuster
. The American people had their input. Republicans in the Senate squashed that input with an outdated parliamentary procedure -- and it died. Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also proposed a "GOP DREAM Act" months ago
; he, and Congress, have done nothing with it.